A Local Author’s First Western – Some Thoughts On JOHNNY AND THE KID

R Lawson Gamble writes history, mystery, and murder with cross-culture comradeship and Native American mysticism in his popular series “Zack Tolliver, FBI”. The series is eight books long with a prequel. Book number nine is due in the spring of 2020.

Now, something new is in the wind. The author has just published “Johnny And The Kid” under his imprint Rich Gamble Associates. The subtitle “An Old Time Western” tells it all. The novel picks up where Elmore Leonard’s “Hombre” and Larry McMurtry’s “Leaving Cheyenne” leave off, with a down-home easy-reading story narrated by a teenage boy in the middle of the fracas as it happens.

This new novel has stirred unusual interest. For example:

After “Johnny” returned from the editors, this note was attached:
“I want to point out that if you notice the two spellings of blond/blonde it is because blond = male and blonde = female. That said, this is an excellent story, and I enjoyed it tremendously. The character development is so well done that it’s as if Johnny was sitting in my living room telling the story. The plots and subplots are wonderful. I love the who’s who that kept the suspense heightened. It’s the best book I’ve read this year. Well done! Readers’ Favorite Team Member – Fiona”

Shortly after publication, the book received its first review on Amazon, rated Five Stars:
Don’t miss this brilliant, classic western!
December 16, 2019
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
“R. Lawson Gamble has written another thrilling novel, a western in which vividly drawn characters face the harsh and dangerous world of the Old West. Mr. Gamble’s people are complex, fascinating and really come to life in this suspenseful story of Johnny, a boy facing overwhelming threats to himself and his community. The author’s typical mastery of historical and visual detail made me feel as if I were right there in the dusty town as secrets emerged and the evil was coming closer. I hope to see Johnny again, and of course, Mr. Gamble’s Zack Tolliver series heroes as well!”

An Interview with R Lawson Gamble

Interviewer: “Johnny And The Kid” marks a change in genre and writing style for you, does it not?”
RL: “It does. My real love is Western Literature and my shelves are full of Tony Hillerman, Owen Wister, Louis L’Amour, T.T. Flynn, Elmore Leonard, Larry McMurtry, Philipp Meyer––I could go on. When I wrote my first novel “The Other” (that somehow became the first book of a series) my intention was to include everything I loved in a novel. Its success put me on a production treadmill for several years. But I’ve always wanted to write a true Western story.
Interviewer: Is this the first time you’ve written in the first person POV (point of view)?
RL: “Yes and it was a wonderful experience. I have admired those authors who have written great books in the first person. It is such an intimate yet compelling voice. You are there in the middle of the action. You feel what the narrator feels as he or she feels it. But editors warn us away from using it because it is so difficult to do well. You can never forget who you are in the telling, you must remember the inclusions and limitations of your perception.
Interviewer: “Do you feel you have succeeded?”
RL: “Yes, I do. I found it easy to write. I became Johnny, I saw the action unfold before me. I felt the angst, the fear, the pride, sadness, the love Johnny felt as he felt it. The story flowed.”
Interviewer:Johnny And The Kid” is a short novel compared to “Mestaclocan” and “Canaan’s Secret”, for example. Was that intentional?”
RL: “I have two answers to that question. Generally speaking, my stories end when they end. It is why some novels in the Zack Tolliver series are over four hundred pages and others less than two hundred. When I set out to write “Johnny And The Kid” I expected more action and dialogue than introspection and narrative. Johnny is a fifteen-year-old boy at the beginning of the story and like most teenagers doesn’t spend a lot of time musing. He reacts. His actions are shaped by events and the people around him, not the other way around.”
Interviewer: “Will there be more of Johnny?”
RL: “I expect so. Of course, I will continue my “Zack Tolliver, FBI” series as long as readers want to follow Zack and Eagle Feather. I do enjoy writing those novels. As for Johnny, he has just begun his life as a gunfighter and I as much as anyone want to know what happens to him.”

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